The apple watch and its various features have become an important part of many people’s health and fitness strategies. Used for motivating many to do more exercise, increase steps and improve personal bests for various activities like running, it has no doubt helped great numbers of people to make important lifestyle changes.
Also, with the introduction and improvement of heart rate monitoring features, many people are also using it to learn about the condition of their hearts.
Yet, with all the benefits that come with such a device, there are clear limitations that are worth keeping in mind for anyone who relies on smart monitors to improve and track their health.
Understand What the Apple Watch Is
While the Apple watch could be seen as a medical device in the eyes of some, with its ECG sensor and software that helps to accurately measure active and resting heart rates, it is still a consumer device at the end of the day, and shouldn’t stand in for tests performed by medical professionals.
Its fitness features may still have a decent impact on people’s health, but when using it to determine how strong or weak your heart is, you need to be careful.
Regularly monitoring heart health through the Apple watch has resulted in increased numbers of users becoming overly conscious and anxious about their heart rate with some being some confusion about what is optimal and “concerning”. Interestingly, this has led to an increased number of unnecessary health care visits.
So, while the purpose of this post isn’t to discourage you from using the Apple watches features to their full advantage, we offer some cautionary notes and outline six things it can’t tell you about your heart.
- The Condition of Your Overall Cardiovascular System
Knowing what your heart rate is doesn’t let you understand the underlying health of your cardiovascular system and how the complex mechanisms involved in the functioning of the human heart are performing.
The heart helps to continuously circulate and oxygenate your blood among other things. It is a process that supports normal bodily function and improving overall cardiovascular health requires a more holistic understanding of your body.
2. Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is important to pay attention to. It can help you understand the condition of your heart as well as your general health. There are many consequences of both high and low blood pressure, which can include strong headaches, chest pain, difficulty breathing and hypertension.
If paired with certain accessories and the right method, your Apple might be able to help you figure out your blood pressure, but it cannot do this alone. Also, as blood pressure is such an important measurement, it should ideally be taken by a trained professional in the right conditions.
3. Blood Health
Your blood can offer an important indication of your heart health. High levels of cholesterol can be a sign of increased risk of heart attack, for example.
Doctor’s may also examine the substances found within your blood to determine the condition of your arteries and certain deposits that they might contain. You may also need to take multiple blood tests to determine the risk factor of something like heart disease.
Your doctor may suggest a blood test to check your levels of sodium, potassium, albumin, and creatinine, which could signal potential problems with organs like your kidneys and liver, as well as signs of heart failure.
4. General Aerobic Endurance
Your aerobic capacity, or endurance, is the ability of your heart and lungs to provide the body with oxygen for exercise. Monitoring this can help you understand your overall heart health and the way muscles are provided with levels of oxygen.
A number of tests can be used to determine this, often requiring individuals to push their body to certain limits of physical activity to review their aerobic capacity, which can be a much better determiner of heart health than just testing your resting heart rate.
5. A Deeper Reading of Your Heart Health
Cardiologists can use several techniques to gauge the condition and performance of your heart. This can range from ECGs to reliably measure someone’s resting heart rate to echocardiograms and CT scans, to help visualise the structure of your heart, the size of your heart, how your arteries and valves are functioning and how well your heart muscle is contracting and relaxing.
These can be quick and painless measurements but should be performed in hospitals or specialist clinics with a medical professional trained to do so.
Certain chest pain causes or issues you think could relate to your heart should always be assessed by professionals who can draw from a wider body of knowledge and scientific expertise to give you a better understanding of your condition and how to improve your health.
Contact Us for Advice on Heart Health
At Venturi Cardiology, we’re committed to giving you the diagnosis you need to determine the health of your heart as well as the tools needed to make important improvements so that you can avoid serious illnesses and damage from poor heart health.